Western News

Reynolds wants MBU to recapture fearsome reputation at home

Saturday, September 15, 2018

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TUCKER, St James — For the first time since they returned to the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) as Montego Bay United (MBU) in the 2011-12 season, the two-time champions will be under the leadership of a club president other than Orville Powell.

In the middle of the off season the controversial Powell signalled that he had had enough of the football business, and his departure triggered rumours of a possible demise of the club.

That was the cue for Dr Germaine Spencer, who had worked in the background for the last few seasons, to step into the spotlight, albeit reluctantly , as he claimed.

While there is a slight shift to spreading its wings into more communities in and around the Montego Bay area, the primary aim is to play quality football and win titles.

One of the first actions was to hire Vassell Reynolds, who then started to scout for and fashioned his squad from day one on the job — with the main intent being to put last season firmly in the rear-view mirror.

Reynolds had a dream start with ISSA daCosta Cup team Rusea's High, winning that Cup in his first season at the Hanover school, and the hopes are high that he will bring the same magic touch to MBU in the RSPL.

MBU finished a disappointing ninth last season, winning just six of 16 games played at home, and Reynolds told the Jamaica Observer that “clearly we want to recapture our ability to dominate on our home turf”. “Personally, I get the feeling that over the past season or two, when teams came to Wespow Park, there was a limitation of fear, and we want to get back to the stage where we dominate our home turf,” Reynolds said.

MBU were well-placed to sneak into the six-team play-offs but only got one point from their last four games, finishing with a limp rather than a swagger.

“Clearly the club would have been disappointed in how they finished last year and we think after assessment a number of factors could have led to that, and we think that it started from the get-go when the team was struggling in the early stages of the competition,” noted Reynolds.

“We want to ensure, and we have been putting in the work so at least from the start we are up there — and we want to maintain that competitiveness right throughout the season,” he added.

The team that played in three consecutive finals, winning two, fell on hard times the last few seasons with mediocre results, and while they have lost just two players in the transfer market, Reynolds says they have done some recruiting and the plan is to have a team playing attractive football every game.

“One thing that you can be certain of is that we will put out an MBU team that is going to be very difficult to be beaten; one that will mix efficiency and attractive football, and one that will commit to always try and get positive results whenever they hit the pitch.

“We want to dispel the rumours that we will either not be playing or with a watered-down team... we have a good unit in place and the preparation has been going quite well, and we're trying to get ourselves as prepared as best as possible for the start of the competition,” he said.

Two senior players, national representative Ladale Richie as well as Ronaldo Rodney, plus Johan Weatherly have left via transfers.

With former national striker Dino Williams, who has been named team captain, Keniel Kirlew, Orlando McBayne, Jermaine Woozencroft, Dwayne Ambusley, who will have a player/coach role, and the return of Ghanaian centre half Nicholas Amponsah, Reynolds is upbeat.

“We are fortunate to still maintain a strong core that most teams in the RSPL would love to have — that sort of stability, so the work goes on,” said the well-travelled coach.

Additionally, Allan Ottey, who was part of the team that qualified for three straight finals, is back after playing for Faulkland FC and Waterhouse last year. Also back is Jourdaine Fletcher, who led Cornwall College to the daCosta Cup title in 2016 and was named to the national senior team.

MBU has also gone in search of players to fill out the squad, Reynolds said.

“The very day I started the job here I took up as a project to balance the intake and, so far, we would have managed to recruit roughly about eight players who are all under age of 21, and that was done on purpose,” he said. “The squad that we have has a good balance with 40 per cent of players under 21 years old, and we will be trying to strike the balance between experience and youth,” Reynolds went on.

Some of the newcomers, he said, have come from the last two daCosta Cup champions, Cornwall College and Rusea's High, as well as several players from the MBU academy.

Reynolds was full of praise for the new management and their objectives. “The vibes are high and we had (a recent) team meeting and everyone is very optimistic. We recognise that the previous management did a lot of work and built a strong foundation, and set the stage for what is to come,” he noted.

The development of the players, said Reynolds, would play an important part in the club.

“We stress that players are the main part of the cub and part of the new thrust is assisting the players to realise their personal goals, and so far the support has been fabulous,” Reynolds ended.

— Paul Reid

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